“Cheney at Starbucks” by Mike Gavin



Do not make it sweet:  The coffee
you will bring in the car.  The car that will
drop you off into an explosion

of lights, brigades of men in
red-tie uniforms.  Bitter coffee
defends the sweet talk from folk

luring to snatch, imprison a glimpse of your weakness:  They are coming to get you, to
attack you with

questions whose answers you have
not conceived of yet:  Can
bodies of nerve gas victims

be touched, kissed at their funerals?  Buried
without contaminating ground
water?  You will make a note

to form a committee to have
answers to such questions.  There
will be a girl.  She will remind you

of that commercial with the mushroom
cloud.  She will laugh as her father
carries her past the attacking

reporters upon his shoulders.
You will fear that she may die.
You will bow your head so

reporters do not witness your
sadness.  You will raise your
hand to walk by the brigades of newsmen,

killing their questions mid-sentence,
so they drift off to that place that same
girl’s would-be husband exists.

No, do not make it sweet:  The coffee
you will bring in the car will not
dissolve sugar, only make it fade to black.